We examine the potential for reactive lighting and traffic signals, and even self-healing potholes in the city of the future. How close are we to the truly "smart city"?
We imagine the city of the future - not just a place where we live and work, but a living organism with reactive lighting and traffic signals, even water-mains that can fix themselves. We hear from two men involved in that transition: Brian McGuigan, the European Commercial Director for Smart Cities at the firm SilverSpring Networks, who is working on creating integrated city networks, especially focussed on smart lighting, and Phil Purnell, a Professor of Engineering at the University of Leeds, who considers how future drone and robotic technology will soon be able to monitor and fix problems, like potholes, broken light-bulbs and water-pipes, without people even needing to intervene. We also talk to Bernard Charles, President and CEO of Dassault Systemes, a French firm that's leading the way in the 3-D computer modelling that's needed to make these dreams a reality. But is a "self-healing city" a little too futuristic for you? With cities like Singapore aiming to become the world's first fully smart city, can we trust that Big Brother won't be watching us?